Monday, August 31, 2015

Defining Modern and Early Modern: The Seven Years War.

Dear Readers,

I know it has been a while- too long, in fact. I've been teaching the last year at Indiana Wesleyan University, and applying for Ph.D programs. Good news- I'm currently working on my doctorate at West Virginia University, under the direction of Dr. Tyler Boulware, and Dr. Katherine Aaslestad. 

There isn't much time, so I wanted to run an idea by you. In the historical field, we separate the past five hundred odd years into two fields: early modern, and modern. According to the standard interpretation, the early modern period lasts from about 1500 to somewhere in the eighteenth century, usually the French Revolution, and the modern takes up the story until now. I'd like to propose a new way of looking at this idea. 

The Seven Years War gives us the modern world. This war, so decisive, unlike many eighteenth century conflicts, defines the eighteenth century. Fred Anderson has argued as much in Crucible of War. What if the Seven Years War isn't just the defining moment of the eighteenth century, but also separates the modern and early modern?

This war gives England control of North America (for the moment), puts the pieces of the British Raj in place, begins to define white and Native American as separate races in the minds of people living in Colonial America, increases Russian presence and power projection in eastern Europe, and assures the survival of a strong, Protestant state in Germany. The debts, ideas, and territorial changes of this war are truly revolutionary. Could this war be the defining line of the modern world?

What do you think?

Thanks for reading,